Sunday, May 13, 2007

Football Daft

1). Courtesy of from Alan J. at Mailstrom blog, news reaches me of Sharlene Lyons decision to name her new born baby Emily Lisbon Lyons, in commemoration of this little incident that happened in a green field in Portugal 40 years ago.

I'm sure Alan J. passed me on the link in an ironic 'Isn't she bloody daft?' sort of way, but as self-denying Jam Tart he would, wouldn't he?

A couple of years ago a die hard Hearts fan, Shona McGluffer, tried to do something similar to commemorate the Jam Tarts great 1985 cup-winning triumph, but the registrar on the day refused to allow her to name her daughter Tennents' Sixes Cup McGluffer. True story. Google it.

It's just sour grapes on Alan's part.

2). Cracking article on the German footie team, Schalke 04, in today's Guardian Sportblog by Anna Kessel.

For some reason when I hear Schalke 04, I immediately think of Uli Stielike. No idea why, as he didn't even play for Schalke 04 at any point in his career.

In amongst the news of how it looks like Schalke have blown the chance of winning the Bundesliga for the first time since the late fifties, cos they've choked in their last few matches, is the story of how they are seen by many as the German equivalent of Newcastle Utd - does their choking have echoes of Newcastle in 95/96? - 'cos of their passionate long suffering support in an area rooted in heavy industry and now beset by economic hard times.

I especially loved this story from early on in the season:

"Such is the power of the supporters they even make it into the dressing room. Last November, fans penned an open letter to the team calling for more passion on the pitch. With Schalke, it does not matter if you win or lose, you just have to try. Coach Mirko Slomka read the letter to his players. At the next home game, against Bayern Munich, as if to underline their point, the fans refused to cheer for the first 19 minutes and four seconds of the game (1904, the year Schalke started). Peter Lovenkrands put Schalke ahead and was met by silence. As the clock crept towards 19 minutes a slow clap began. Around the stadium it grew in volume. Just as the protest neared its end a roar began and Leban Kobiashvili took possession of the ball and lashed it into the top corner for a second goal. The stadium erupted. Schalke fans say they still get goosebumps thinking about it. At the players' request, the team appeared on the pitch holding a message for the fans. It read: 'We are Schalke, we are passion.' But there is fan culture and then there is cold hard cash. And this year Schalke came into an unprecedented amount of money."

I can totally identify with that creative form of protest as the SPGB was also formed in 1904, and I would indicate my contempt for Party democracy by sometimes turning up twenty minutes late for branch meetings. It had the desired effect: I missed the call for nominatons for chairing the meeting.

3). I always had a soft spot for the Hammers. It goes back 25 years when they had great players like Alan Devonshire, Phil Parkes, Trevor Brooking and Ray Stewart. Christ I even liked Geoff Pike and David Cross.

Tevez has been a revelation in recent weeks, and it's good that local boys such as Bobby Zamora and Mark Noble have come good. I'm a sentimentalist like that. However, for all that, and though I know in all probability it won't happen, I still hope they get relegated from the Premiership today.

It was an absolute disgrace that they escaped with only a fine over the dodgy transfers of Tevez and Mascherano earlier this season. I totally understand that the other clubs in and around the bottom of the Premiership feel that they have been shafted, and whatever bile I reserve for that prick, Dave Whelan, Paul Jewell and Wigan deserve better.

Fingers crossed that Fergie and United have long memories, and give West Ham a spanking for that deciding game at Upton Park back in '95, and that Wigan get a result at Bramhall Lane against Sheffield Utd.

4). Fool that I am, I still scan the sports section of the New York Times for stories about football . . . any football . . . I'd even read a 2000 word essay on the wit and wisdom of Mo Johnson if that was the only thing on offer, but it turns out that after all this time that I was looking in the wrong section of the New York Times. The Travel Section of the NYT has a piece by Henry Fountain about him and his son taking in a couple of 'soccer' games in recent weeks in England.

From Roots Hall to the Emirates in twenty paragraphs: Do not not pass go, do not pick up a battered sausage and a pickled onion at a fish and chip 'joint' on the way.


ajohnstone said...

self denying jam-tart ??...Million miles off .

Darren said...

Don't pretend you're a Hibbee. I've got your card marked.

ajohnstone said...

We will follow ..we will follow ....ummmm...who ?

Darren said...

I know . . . you're the original Ferranti Thistle supporter.